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The Rise Of Solar Stadiums

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The Rise of Solar Stadiums: Assessing the Motives and Environmental Impact Super Bowl XLVIII. February 2nd, 2014. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As time expires, Mason Crosby kicks a field goal that soars through the uprights and hits . . . a wind turbine? Suddenly, this scenario does not sound so far-fetched: the Philadelphia Eagles have announced their intention to convert Lincoln Financial Field into the “world’s greenest stadium” (Bauers). As part of the initiative, the Eagles plan to take themselves “off the grid” by installing 100 wind turbines, nearly 2500 solar panels, and a “cogeneration power plant that can run on biodiesel or natural gas” (Bauers). The Eagles’ stadium is part of the growing trend to “green” American sports…show more content…
The NRDC guide may already be having an impact: before the start of the 2011 NFL season, the Washington Redskins unveiled 8285 solar panels that will “produce enough power to meet 20 percent of the stadium 's power needs on game days and all of its power on non-game days” (Hoppes). Despite the solar stadium boom, there are dissenting viewpoints about the direct economic benefit; one perspective maintains that solar panels increase profit margins by reducing energy costs. In a 2010 press release, the NRDC stated that, “in most American cities, solar panels can pay for themselves” (“US Stadiums Go Solar”). This breakeven estimate may be conservative: a 500-kilowatt solar system can cost as little as $2.28 million to install (Gelsi); and the Philadelphia Eagles anticipate saving $60 million over 20 years with their solar and wind system (Bauers). Additionally, solar panels are becoming more affordable with the emergence of “power-purchase agreements,” which allow stadiums to purchase “the power generated by the panels, rather than owning them” (Gelsi). Solar profit margins are also likely to expand “as energy prices continue to rise and solar panel efficiencies increase” (“Why Install Solar”). Despite this evidence, some franchises question the direct economic benefits of solar power. Surprisingly, one dissenting view came from the sun-soaked swamps of Central Florida. When constructing Amway
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